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Cowen rules out U-turn on pay for top officials

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen has ruled out any U-turn over his Government's decision to allow senior officials to escape the full brunt of the public sector pay cuts.

It comes after unions complained that cleaners in government departments were taking bigger pay cuts (5pc) than some senior figures (3pc). But Mr Cowen said the Government had already made its position on the issue clear.

"It's now in legislation and we've legislated for these changes and we have to proceed with them," he said.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that the public sector pay cuts would be reduced for around 600 senior civil servants because it was taking their previous payments of up to €17,000 from an axed bonus scheme into account.

In his speech to around 220 international investors at a Citi conference in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, yesterday, Mr Cowen defended the cutbacks , saying it was important to learn from the 1980s.

"We have learnt our lessons from the past. Our approach this time is not to delay the correction and not to take the soft option of relying solely on taxation measures," he said.

Mr Cowen promised new jobs in financial services, the green economy, the food sector and tourism.

Irish Independent